Second-hand still a niche market

01 May 2007

Within reach: Liebherr still values its specialist second-hand business

Liebherr registers five to 10 secondhand deals for mobile harbour cranes each year,compared will sales of around 70 new units. In the reachstacker business, where the company has a more reduced presence, it undertakes annual second-hand deals involving two to four machines. Spokesperson Thomas Bachmann notes that there are a number of impediments concerning the second-hand sale of quayside gantry cranes, which makes this a less favourable market segment.

“Rail gauge, types of rails, height underneath the crane and so on all reduces the pool of potential customers, while transporting a quay crane is difficult. In contrast, it is extremely simple to move a reach stacker, although somewhat more challenging in the case of a mobile harbour crane,”he says.

Asked whether terminals ever buy equipment with potential re-sale in mind,Mr Bachmann says it is difficult to generalise. Nevertheless, he calculates that the quickest reselling periods are recorded by reachstackers, followed by mobile harbour cranes and quayside gantry cranes.“This ranking is certainly linked to initial investment costs. Obviously, it only makes sense to sell on equipment only after it has earned a substantial amount of money.” The role of depreciation is also significant in determining residual values.

Liebherr estimates average depreciation values of 15% –20% after one year, 40%–50% after five years and 70%–75% after ten years. However in this respect the operating hours per year, type of application (container handling, bulk handling, scrap handling) and general condition of the machine (regular service and maintenance effected or not) play an important role, which requires a complete inspection of each and every unit prior to giving any clear information concerning residual values.

Given its knowledge of the global market, Liebherr is frequently asked to help sell on equipment it previously sold in as new, says Mr Bachmann. Another increasing phenomenon involves the company refurbishing units for their owners before a sale in the second-hand market.

“Liebherr equipment is particularly attractive to operators buying it second-hand, because spare parts and components (including engines, slewing bearings and winches) remain available up to 20 or even 30 years post-manufacture. This is because we build the majority of them in house, something which also applies to the entire electronic system,” says Mr Bachmann.

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